Blackburn Amendment to Protect Free Speech Online Added to Defense Authorization

July 2, 2020

Senator Blackburn’s Open Technology Fund (OTF) Authorization Act has been added to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act as an amendment. It would authorize the OTF as an independent grantee of the US Agency for Global Media, increasing its capacity to advance internet freedom abroad. 

“Leading censors like China and Russia are not only employing more sophisticated means to control the lives of their citizens online; they are also exporting their censorship and surveillance tactics to illiberal regimes abroad,” said Senator Blackburn. “I am pleased my colleagues have recognized this importance of this legislation, and that it has been included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.” 

The OTF currently uses its annual budget to provide funding for small tech groups to counter censorship efforts with open-source tools, code, and components. As an independent non-profit organization, the OTF supports open technology and community projects that counteract repressive censorship and surveillance, enabling Internet users to exercise their fundamental human rights online.